Thursday, April 25, 2013


I told myself, 4 years ago, that being online distracts me more from juggling my studies and my work.  I ended up with a very, very long hiatus; I dubbed this as a cyber-hibernation.  For this reason, it took me 40 months before I was able to write again for this blog.  I miss this so badly.
Tomorrow I will be graduating for the fifth time.  It was my dream to obtain my master’s degree before the age of 30.  In God’s favor, I will be able to do it 18 days before I turn 29.  What took me writing 32 hours before I receive my graduate degree is an out spurt of vivid memories of my college graduation. 

Frustrations.  Expectations.  Excitement.  Thrill.  Anxiety.  I think I’m just stressed out.

Frustration.  Way back in college I really wanted to win the best student teacher award.  Without any reservations, I asked my supervising teacher if he could nominate me for the said award.  He then asked me to draft the letter and he will just check it.  I did what he told me and so I was shortlisted for the award. 

I was the President of a national organization during that time.  We organize and conduct science camps every summer for high school students.  That year, we went to Davao City for the annual event.  In the middle of the camp, I received an SMS that I have to be in the college the following day to do a demo teaching.  As much as I wanted to fly back to Manila, I have to give up the demo teaching.  I have to give up my dream.

It was very disappointing because it was my only chance to make my mom proud during my graduation day.  I was a ‘pasaway’ student during my undergrad years.  I have 19 units of 5.0 and 7 units of 4.0.  Because of that, I have to extend for another year so it took me 5 years to finish my course.

The best student award also has a cash prize.  Another reason why I badly wanted to win the award is because I needed the money so I can enroll in a review center for the board exams.  We were in financial constraints during that time and I know that my mom can’t send me anymore to a review center.  She would always tell me, “Kaya mo yan!  Hindi mo na kailangan ng review center.” 

And so, I was not able to enroll in a review center.  Worse, I did not review for the board.  Right after taking the exam sometime in August 2006, I called my mom.  I told her since I did not review, I am not confident with my answers.  I thought I would fail.

I did not fail.  

I passed.  I even placed 10th among the 17,377 successful passers out of 59,457 examinees in the elementary level.  I was crying when I told my mom the good news over the phone.  How did I do it?  I don’t know.

Expectation.  Because I was born to be an achiever, receiving an award during graduation day is not a new thing for me.  I was 3rd honors in kindergarten, with honors in grade school, and valedictorian in high school.  Maybe that is why I was so frustrated to graduate in college without any award I can bring home.  I lose my competitiveness in the academe that day.  Instead, that competitiveness was channeled to my students every time we compete in a science contest.  In the past six years, I ended up pushing all of my trainees to do their best. 

Nevertheless, I still exerted all my best to complete the requirements of my MA subjects.  I think that effort paid well.  January this year, I was invited to be a member of an international honor society.  Invitation to this organization is highly dependent on the academic standing of a student.  Hence, he/she should belong to the upper 10% of the graduating class.

The invitation made me compute for my general weighted average (GWA).  To my surprise, my GWA is 1.125, without the thesis grade.  I honestly don’t know where did this grade come from.  All this time, I thought only ‘halimaws’ could produce this kind of grade.  But no, I am not a ‘halimaw.’  Up till now, I am still haunted by my 5.0’s in Math 53, Chem 17, 28, 28, and 31.

Because of the 1.125 GWA and the honor society invitation, I don’t know if I will receive an academic excellence award tomorrow.  Though honestly, I am expecting to receive it.  Maybe that is why I feel stressed out right now.   I just hope my guts are right this time.  I hope so.

Another reason why I feel stressed out is because my paper was nominated for best thesis award.  When I went home two weekends ago to attend the wedding of my high school classmate, the twin sister of the bride got into an accident while we were traversing the ATV trail at the foot of Mayon Volcano.  The same day, I received a message from my thesis adviser that I should be in the college the following Monday because they will nominate my paper for the best thesis award.  I was still in a post-traumatic state from the accident that happened in the morning and then I received overwhelming news about being nominated for best thesis in the afternoon.  Just imagine my emotional dilemma that Saturday night.  I was a total wreck.

Tomorrow my suffering will end.  I will finally know if I will receive the academic excellence award, IF they call my name; at the same time, I will know if I won the best thesis award, also, IF they call my name.  For now, I think my gastrointestinal tract will suffer for the next 32 hours.  My functional dyspepsia is a manifestation of a psychosomatic condition when I am subjected to stress.  I think I can feel it right now as I write this post.  Or I don’t know, maybe I’m just hungry because it’s 2 am already.
(c) UP Lakan

Stress.  I am thrilled of what tomorrow will bring me.  I am excited.  I am also anxious.  Or maybe I am just stressing myself.

While exchanging text with an officemate earlier this evening, I suddenly realized that no matter how the graduation ceremonies would end up tomorrow, there is one more thing that I should be more excited about.

What will happen to me after graduation?  What should I do next?  Where will the Lord lead me now that I am done with my graduate degree?

The good Lord works in His own perfect timetable.  All of these things happening to me did not happen by any chance.  Or even by good fortune.  There was no ritual or repetitive prayers required.  No charms to hold on to or idols to worship.  Everything was just between God and me.  

In the past four months that I have been writing my thesis, I knew everything would push through smoothly.  This is because I knew He is my rock, my refuge, and the source of my strength.  All I have to do is let Him take the wheel.

What road should I take now that I’m done with my work here?  I don’t know.  That will be my next prayer item.  And then after five years, or ten, or maybe 20, I will go back to this page and reflect once again on how great the Lord had been to me.  And surely, have another flashback. 

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